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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol. 2012 Sep-Oct;1(5):629-41. doi: 10.1002/wdev.46. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Oscillatory gene expression and somitogenesis.

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  • 1Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. rkageyam@virus.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

A bilateral pair of somites forms periodically by segmentation of the anterior ends of the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). This periodic event is regulated by a biological clock called the segmentation clock, which involves cyclic gene expression. Expression of her1 and her7 in zebrafish and Hes7 in mice oscillates by negative feedback, and mathematical models have been used to generate and test hypotheses to aide elucidation of the role of negative feedback in regulating oscillatory expression. her/Hes genes induce oscillatory expression of the Notch ligand deltaC in zebrafish and the Notch modulator Lunatic fringe in mice, which lead to synchronization of oscillatory gene expression between neighboring PSM cells. In the mouse PSM, Hes7 induces coupled oscillations of Notch and Fgf signaling, while Notch and Fgf signaling cooperatively regulate Hes7 oscillation, indicating that Hes7 and Notch and Fgf signaling form the oscillator networks. Notch signaling activates, but Fgf signaling represses, expression of the master regulator for somitogenesis Mesp2, and coupled oscillations in Notch and Fgf signaling dissociate in the anterior PSM, which allows Notch signaling-induced synchronized cells to express Mesp2 after these cells are freed from Fgf signaling. These results together suggest that Notch signaling defines the prospective somite region, while Fgf signaling regulates the pace of segmentation. It is likely that these oscillator networks constitute the core of the segmentation clock, but it remains to be determined whether as yet unknown oscillators function behind the scenes.

Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PMID:
23799565
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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